Bellingham Therapy Horse Wins National Award
Norwegian Fjord from NorthWest Therapeutic Riding Center Is Chosen Prestigious “Equine of
the Year” by NARHA
(PRWEB) December 22, 2009 -- Kleng, an 18-year-old Norwegian Fjord horse who has carried hundreds of
disabled riders on his strong back over the years at the NorthWest Therapeutic Riding Center (NWTRC) outside
Bellingham, Washington, won the 2009 Equine of the Year Award, presented in Fort Worth, Texas, by the
NARHA, a national association of equine assisted activity and therapy.
Kleng has “a strong steady walk, a tireless trot and a ‘rocking horse’ canter,” according to Julia Bozzo, his owner
and executive director of NWTRC. A gentleman and a dandy horse, Kleng jumps, trail rides, longes well with a
rider or and is trained to pull a cart.
Dozens of horses from therapeutic riding programs around the United States and Canada compete each year, first
in their respective regions and then – among the regional winners – for the national Equine of the Year. Kleng
was chosen as the winner for Region 9 before the national conference held November 15-21 in Fort Worth.
“When his name was announced at the conference gala as the winner, I thrilled beyond belief,” said Bozzo. “Of
course, anybody who has worked with or ridden Kleng knows that his smooth gait and friendly calm personality
make him very special, but it’s just so gratifying to have him recognized nationally.”
Kleng’s personality is so steady, according to Bozzo, that early in his therapeutic riding career he responded to
the bouquet of purple balloons that arrived at the ring by leading his handler and rider over to get a better look and
a sniff of the new purple arrivals.
Norwegian Fjord horses are said to have been in evidence during the time of the Vikings, but Kleng originally
hailed from Vancouver Island, where he was related to most of the other Fjords on the island. Trained since the
age of four to work in equine-assisted activities, Kleng has worked as a therapy horse at NWTRC for 13 y